Friday, March 20, 2009

Inside-Out Eggplant Parmigiana

We tried this dish from the recent issue of Gourmet earlier this week. If you like Eggplant Parmigiana, then this is a good recipe for you to try. (Pepper - I've always thought that I wasn't much of an eggplant fan, but I'm definitely coming around. This was very tasty.)

Inside-Out Eggplant Parmigiana

For tomato sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (14-oz) can whole tomatoes in juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped basil

For eggplant stacks

  • 2 (1-lb) eggplants
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus additional for drizzling
  • 3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
  • 1/2 lb arugula, coarse stems discarded, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella cut into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices

Make tomato sauce:

  • Heat oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, blend tomatoes with juice in a blender until almost smooth. Add to onion mixture in saucepan with water, sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in basil and keep warm, covered.

Bake eggplant:

  • Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lowest position.
  • Cut 12 (1/3-inch-thick) rounds from widest portion of eggplants. Brush both sides with 2 Tbsp oil and season with 1/2 tsp salt (total). Bake on an oiled baking sheet, turning once, until golden and tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm, covered. Leave oven on.

Make egg patties and sauté arugula:

  • Stir together bread crumbs, parmesan, parsley, half of garlic, and 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper, then stir in eggs and water.
  • Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Drop 4 rounded 1/3 cups of egg mixture into skillet and cook, turning once, until patties are golden brown and puffed, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  • Add remaining Tbsp oil to skillet and cook remaining garlic with red-pepper flakes, stirring, until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add arugula and basil and stir until just wilted, then stir in 1/8 tsp salt.

Assemble stacks:

  • Arrange 4 egg patties about 3 inches apart on a baking sheet. Top each with 2 Tbsp tomato sauce, 1 slice mozzarella, 1 eggplant slice, 2 more Tbsp tomato sauce, another eggplant slice, arugula mixture, and remaining eggplant. Bake until cheese melts, 5 to 10 minutes. Drizzle with additional oil and serve remaining sauce on the side.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mid-week OM NOM


We haven't done an OM NOM Nomination in a while...and since many people were inspired by St. Patrick's Day to post some delicious Irish or Irish inspired dishes, what better time to do let's get cracking!

The first nomination goes to Me Hungry with her Irish Soda Bread Showdown. I don't know if it is the competitive spirit in me that likes to see this type of showdown or perhaps it is the commitment to try several different recipes to find your favorite (a la America's Test Kitchen)...either way, this post deserves an OM NOM!

The next OM NOM goes to The Wicked Noodle who like us went with a Guinness flavored dish. And you really can't celebrate an Irish holiday without at least one recipe for... Guinness Corned Beef and Cabbage. I raise my pint of Guinness to you Wicked Noodle and present you with an OM NOM.

A delectable finishing dish for our St. Patrick's Day inspired OM NOM Nominations, we go over to Closet Cooking and his Chocolate Stout Cake with Baileys Cream...ok, I have a thing for Guinness. You got me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Just in time for St. Patty's Day

OK...we're back in business after some technical difficulties with the computer. For many things in life, you never really realize how good you've got it until its gone. In any case, everything seems to be working well again and just in time to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!

Seeing how it is one of my favorite drinks, I feel it absolutely necessary to highlight some recipes that use Guinness Stout. And there are some good ones out there including Guinness Mustard, Guinness Ice Cream and Guinness Stew.

I'm going to go with one of my favorite foods these days: Short Ribs!

Guinness Braised Short Ribs
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika (not hot)
1/2 tablespoon curry powder (preferably Madras)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
4 to 4 1/4 lb beef short ribs, cut into 4-inch pieces
4 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped (2 cups)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium carrots, chopped (2 cups)
3 celery ribs, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
1/4 cup chopped garlic (5 to 6 large cloves)
1 3/4 cups beef broth (14 oz)
2 (12-oz) bottles of Guinness Stout
2 (14- to 15-oz) cans diced tomatoes

Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 375°F.

Stir together brown sugar, paprika, curry powder, cumin, pepper, salt, and mustard in a small bowl until combined.

Pat ribs dry and arrange in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan or a shallow dish, then generously coat all sides of ribs with spice mixture. Marinate, uncovered and chilled, 1 hour.

Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water, agitating water, then lift out leeks and drain in a colander.

Heat oil in pot over high heat until hot but not smoking and quickly brown ribs on all 3 meaty sides (but not bone side) without crowding, in batches if necessary, about 1 minute per side. Transfer meat to a large plate, then add leeks, carrots, celery, and bay leaves to pot and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add broth, beer, and tomatoes with their juice, then add ribs with any juices and remaining spices accumulated on plate and bring liquid to a boil, uncovered. Cover pot and transfer to oven, then braise until meat is very tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Skim off excess fat from surface of sauce. Discard bay leaves.

More St. Patty's Day inspired treats later!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Red Pepper Soup and Scallop Ceviche Rocket

For my sister's birthday dinner, I decided to go with a soup and salad first course.

For the soup I made a Roasted Red Pepper soup served in tall shot glasses and the salad was a scallop ceviche with arugula greens. I called the dish Red Pepper Shooter and Scallop Ceviche Rocket. I read somewhere that arugula is referred to as rocket in England and thought that sounded a lot more fun than just arugula salad. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of this plate...but trust me, it looked great.

Red Pepper Shooter
3 red bell peppers, seeded
1 tbl. butter
1 tbl. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbl. AP flour
1 healthy pinch red pepper flakes
A few sprigs of thyme
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
Salt and Pepper

Cut the peppers open and lay them flat on a foil lined baking sheet. Put them under the broiler until the skin is blistered and charred. Put them into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to help steam the skin off. Once the skin is loosened, peel the skin off and chop the peppers into 1 inch chunks.

Meanwhile, heat the butter and oil then add the onions to saute. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and continue about 1 minute. Add the flour to create a bit of a roux.

Add the roasted peppers, broth, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and let it do so for 20-25 minutes.

Use an immersion blender (or regular blender) to smooth out the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Scallop Ceviche Rocket
3/4 lb. sea scallops, cut crosswise into 1/8 inch thick slices
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped into very small dice
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice from 8 limes, approximately 1 cup
2 tbl red onion, chopped into very small dice
1 seeded and diced tomato
Olive oil
Avocado slices

Put the scallops, lime juice, jalapeno pepper and garlic in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour. The acid in the lime juice cooks the scallops. Some people poach the scallops ahead of time, but I find that unnecessary.

Just before serving, combine the onion and tomato in a bowl. Spoon out the scallops and add them to the tomato and onion mixture.

Use some of the lime juice to make a dressing with the olive oil. Serve on the arugula and decorate with the avocado slices. Top with the dressing.